Spring is in Full Swing

My projects are piling up as my schedule is booking up with one-shot sessions for the semester, so I was thrilled to take my first release day last week to finally have some quiet time at home to catch up on reading and work on my article and tenure portfolio. (My university gives “release time” to new faculty in their first semester to allow time for research and portfolio stuff. The library’s practice is to let us use the release time in our second and third semester).

However, it ended up mostly just being another work day! I finished up a subject liaison project I was working on and then dealt with a lot of email, the result being I worked on my article very little and my portfolio not at all. It was really great to be able to work from home, though.

Being new tenure-track faculty is really difficult, especially as I continue to figure out my role in the library. Liaison duties, reference hours, and research/scholarship takes up a lot of my days, leaving not a whole lot for design time.

I haven’t had a whole lot of guidance since I started this position, but I was told I was hired to help librarians improve their instruction and to help improve our LibGuides. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and I’m planning to give a workshop for librarians on educational technologies. I’ve been meaning to write up a short survey to discover what they want to learn about.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about how I can help improve our LibGuides. In a literature review, I found that there is not much research on how LibGuides are used by students. I did find one really great thesis by a library school student, though.

I have really limited time, and a lot of instructional design projects, and improving our LibGuides one at a time certainly isn’t the best use of my time. I should also add that user experience/usability isn’t really one of my strengths. However, I had the opportunity to attend two days of training last week on Quality Matters (QM) and QOLT, which is similar to QM. Both QM an QOLT are rubrics that you can use to evaluate online/hybrid course design. Criteria include usability and navigation.

I’m not involved (yet) in evaluating online courses, but I was inspired to think about how I can construct a similar rubric for LibGuides, using what I learned in those workshops and what I can glean from existing research. I also thought that it would make a fantastic research project to work with students one on one and in focus groups to discover how they perceive and use LibGuides at our institution.

Anyways, that project is one of the many on my pile. I’m now in the development stage for creating IL learning objects for a particular program, as well as information videos on our streaming library resources, and a few other things.

I’ve just got to keep all of these projects straight! Getting and staying organized takes time, so I’ve limited my efforts in that area so far. It’s becoming time that organization will be essential to my success.


Photo Credit:

English: Skyhawk at Cedar Point in full swing.
Source http://www.flickr.com/photos/rollercoasterphilosophy/7625572684/in/set-72157630703282266
Author http://www.flickr.com/photos/rollercoasterphilosophy/

  1. Amanda Piekart

    I feel your pain! I am also an instructional designer in a library and it is definitely a balancing act. I have been in my role for over a year and I am still figuring it out. I read this post and thought I would share some progress that I have made on similar projects that you are trying to embark on. My library is just about to wrap up a massive LibGuides overhaul that I started and I thought I would share our templates with you for some inspiration. http://tinyurl.com/nzv3fko
    I also thought I would share the very brief survey I created to help me learn what skills my instruction librarians needed/wanted to improve on. http://tinyurl.com/owqz37o

    Since the survey, I have held three workshops and I am just about finished creating a self paced course on educational technologies. Would be happy to share that once its finished!

    Hope this is helpful! Good luck!